Letters, the Week of May 12, 2016

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Readers discuss Simone Zimmerman and Middle Eastern history.

Names Are Important in Pleading Israel’s Case
Regarding the editorial about Simone Zimmerman and her short-lived tenure as Bernie Sanders’ outreach director (“The Dilemma of Simone Zimmerman,” April 21): I won’t comment on Bernie “Everything Is Israel’s Fault” Sanders’ vetting or lack thereof regarding Zimmerman’s position on his campaign. However, I can see how statements in the column can lead to the kind of wrongheaded thinking that makes her appointment possible.
It can be found in the words of the editor, as well as in other columns, letters to the editor and in other Jewish magazines, that lend credence to Zimmerman’s nonsensical thinking. Is it really that difficult to write Judea and Samaria instead of the West Bank? And Arabs instead of Palestinians? By using these terms, you are lending legitimacy to this farcical notion that the Arabs have any claim to Judea and Samaria. After all, they vetoed the 1947 U.N. partition plan.
As far as people like Zimmerman being “frighteningly immune to Israel’s case,” the fault lies with our inability or unwillingness to challenge the mainstream media regarding their blatant distortion of Israelis’ plight. We need to call news stations, write letters and call political leaders, and we need to stop referring to Arabs as Palestinians.
If you recall, the Israel Philharmonic was originally the Palestine Philharmonic, and The Jerusalem Post was the Palestine Post. It’s Judea and Samaria, not the West Bank. In recent history, Israel (then called Palestine) was under Turkish rule and later British rule. It was never an independent Arab nation.
Rachel Garber | Philadelphia
Professor Should Learn Some History Before Criticizing Israel
I don’t know what subject letter writer Frank L. Friedman is a professor of, but I’d be willing to wager that it isn’t Middle Eastern or Israeli history (“Israel Shouldn’t Shirk its Responsibilities,” April 28). If it were, he would be more aware of the numerous and extraordinary Israeli attempts to achieve peace, as well as the land concessions it made with a stated willingness to make more.
All of this has been in a vain effort to appease a Palestinian Authority whose goal is not the achievement of statehood, but the eventual destruction of Israel. A thorough knowledge might also prevent Friedman from placing the onus of the stalemate in the “peace progress” on Israeli shoulders with the accusation that “Israel demands peace on its own terms,” despite the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to accept Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s multiple invitations and entreaties to rejoin negotiations.
If the professor considers Israel’s “demand” that it be recognized as a Jewish state with a desire to live in peace behind secure and defensible borders too extreme, there is little I can say to assuage his concerns and anxieties.
And if he feels the pressure of criticisms on the part of certain foreign entities or, perhaps, his fellow academicians, weighing too heavily on him, I can only suggest he acquire enough historical background to enable him to defend Israel and defray those criticisms, rather than call on Israel to make unending concessions that would surely jeopardize its own future security.
Elliott Tessler | Philadelphia

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